Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Influence of circulation and maritime traffic on sediment transport in wide open bays

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.20.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Hydrology   

Code Science Field
T220  Technological sciences  Civil engineering, hydraulic engineering, offshore technology, soil mechanics 

Code Science Field
2.11  Engineering and Technology  Other engineering and technologies 
circulation, semi-enclosed bays, sediment transport, maritime traffic
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  04650  PhD Oliver Bajt  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2011 - 2014  441 
2.  13407  PhD Branko Čermelj  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  186 
3.  05249  PhD Jadran Faganeli  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2011 - 2014  580 
4.  18335  Janez Forte  Biology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  77 
5.  11600  PhD Nives Kovač  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  290 
6.  18338  Tihomir Makovec    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  389 
7.  05226  PhD Vlado Malačič  Hydrology  Head  2011 - 2014  366 
8.  27504  PhD Borut Mavrič  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  357 
9.  21856  PhD Marko Perkovič  Traffic systems  Researcher  2011 - 2014  643 
10.  20320  PhD Boris Petelin  Hydrology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  133 
11.  25480  PhD Nataša Sirnik  Mechanics  Researcher  2012 - 2014  26 
12.  10903  Milijan Šiško  Biology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  240 
13.  31481  PhD Martin Vodopivec  Biology  Technical associate  2011  88 
14.  12068  PhD Dušan Žagar  Mechanics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  770 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,454 
2.  0600  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transport  Portorož  1627015000  6,666 
3.  0792  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  Ljubljana  1626981  25,867 
It has been shown that one of the properties of climatic circulation in the Gulf of Trieste (Gulf) is the input current near the sea floor in all seasons (Malačič and Petelin 2009). The circulation in the Gulf is very much dependent on the circulation of the northern Adriatic (Zavatarelli and Pinardi 2003), (Figure, top row for the domains of interest). Climatic circulation of the Gulf (Figure, bottom left) has been also applied in the study of the spread of cooled sea-water that is meant to heat the liquefied natural gas (LNG), stored in the planned LNG terminals at two locations on the Italian side of the Gulf (Malačič et al. 2008). Climatic and particularly synoptic circulation in small (5 km) wide open bays (Bays of Piran, Koper and Muggia) that face the Gulf (Figure, top), are not yet known. The circulation is certainly very much dependent on the circulation of the Gulf and on the topography of the bays, where the curvature radius of promontories, which confine these bays, is important as well (Valle-Levinson and Moraga-Opazo 2006). The transport of sediments in the northern Adriatic depends on circulation. The re-suspension, however, depends on the vertical shear of bottom currents and also on surface waves (Wang et al. 2007). However, in the inside, closed part of shallow bays maritime traffic may be the dominant agent for re-suspension, as indicated by the first measurements of turbidity in the Bay of Koper (Malačič et al. 2010). It looks like ship maneuvering adds to turbidity, thus also to re-suspension, more than surface waves and currents together in stormy weather. The applied project is motivated by the need to know how, where and when the re-suspended sediment in the Bay of Koper, which has naturally elevated concentrations of nickel (Malačič et al. 2010), travels around and out of the Bay. The same information about the cross-border travel of re-suspended sediment, which is lifted up in the central and northern part of the Gulf, and is contaminated by mercury (Covelli et al. 2001), is important as well. The information obtained will accomplish two things: First, it will contribute to the management of the Bays of Koper and Piran and will estimate the effects of maritime traffic on sediment, consequently on benthic organisms, due to the enlargement of the capacity of the Port of Koper. Second, it will be an added value in the evaluation of the cross-border influences of gas terminals, which are in the serious planning stage on the Italian side, on the marine environment. The legal ground for this investigation lies in a recent ‘Decision’ of the European Commission (C(2010) 5956 (Anon. 2010), which defines the criteria and methodological standards for the good environmental status of marine waters. Descriptor 7 advises that permanent alteration of hydrographical conditions do not adversely affect marine ecosystems’ and that ‘a case by case approach is necessary to assess the impact of activities. Tools such as environmental impact assessment may contribute to evaluate and assess the extent and the cumulative aspects of impacts from such activities’ and ‘…that such tools provide for adequate elements to assess potential impacts on the marine environment, including transboundary considerations.’ The project will reveal the circulation characteristics of wide open bays, like the Bays of Piran, Koper and Muggia by using two numerical models of different architecture. It will estimate the residence time of water mass inside bays and relate it to the spread of pollutants released from different locations.   It will study the re-suspension of sediments due to currents and waves and the spread of sediments due to currents. However, it will be focused on the re-suspension of sediments due to maritime traffic by the state-of-the-art measurements and numerical models, which have not yet been applied for this purpose.
Significance for science
Findings that result from field work, numerical simulations and analytical consideration will be fresh contributions to the field of research into various influences of navigation on the resuspension of marine sediment and therefore on the impact of navigation on the marine environment in shallow waters, which is a global problem. Moreover, the findings of the project will reveal the variability of the circulation in wide-open bays under different weather conditions.
Significance for the country
Within the applied project first measurements of the distribution of resuspended sediment particles and their falling speeds relative to their size were performed over the whole Adriatic Sea. These findings will help authorities to more carefully plan future building activities in the marine environment because we will be able to much more efficiently estimate the influence of these activities on marine water bodies. Project findings will also contribute to developing policy guidelines for maritime traffic, which can stir up more or less contaminated sediments. Within the project a convenient and complete data base of maritime traffic was composed, which will be useful for the analysis of the influences of maritime traffic on the marine environment. These influences range from the influence of navigation on the marine environment and on safety in maritime traffic, to the influence of maritime traffic on air pollution. The project also has an important dissemination impact and is raising awareness of problems related to maritime traffic among that part of the population engaged in navigation. Pilots that participated in simulations of vessels' maneuvering became aware of the problem and are willing to change maneuvering practices to reduce the impact on the marine environment. Project findings will also contribute to possible stabilization of the sea-floor below ship routes, where the sea-floor is seriously degraded. Stabilization usually follows the deepening of navigation channels.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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